Report From the Future
Congratulations on your 10th anniversary (March). This is the second time I have written Fast Company. I first wrote after reading the inaugural issue. Everything I said 10 years ago still holds true. There are people who get it and people who don't. I am happy to say I can now quickly recognize the people who do, build them into my business network, and invite them to spread the news about how companies should be run by following the truth, having integrity, and doing right by others. Your stories are always well written with an edginess and sass that's missing elsewhere. Here's to the next 10 years and beyond!
Your magazine is simply the best business publication in print. Fast Company should be subtitled "Great Brain Food." Your articles and editorials provoke thought, force personal interpretation, and drive decision making and applied action for all businesspeople. Thank you for engaging us readers with stories about the power of people, culture, and creative force.
St. Louis, Missouri
Resources: Green Gets Going
We at the Southern Environmental Law Center are heartened to see a business magazine give credence to the issue of conservation and environmentalism, not as a tree-hugging, leftist ideology, but rather where it belongs: as a mainstream issue ("Essay: Resources", March). Creative approaches can bring environmentalism back from the margins and into the center of the debate by reawakening and reactivating the millions of people who care about these issues. If we take practical approaches to environmental progress and build alliances with business leaders who realize that true progress actually means sustainability and a consideration of natural resources, we'll have a better chance that our children and their children will have healthy air, clean water, forests, coasts, and other special places. Surely this is an issue worthy of some of our top creative minds.
The people of Vanuatu are the "world's first climate-change refugees"? What nonsense. Ice ages have been known to cause evacuations and refugees for millennia! The gradual rewarming has led to similar patterns. Deserts bloom, wastelands form, shorelines grow and retract, the ocean is ripe with harvest, then barren. This is not new. There is also a lack of evidence attributing any global climate change to humans. The companies and ideas here are interesting enough not to be overshadowed with sophomoric tripe.
In "Through a Glass, Brightly,"(March) Mark N. Vamos says "energy is growing scarcer." Wrong. There is plenty of energy; there isn't enough fuel. Petroleum-based fossil fuels, particularly oil and natural gas, are being depleted faster than they are being discovered. It's time for a new way to think about energy. That is what we are trying to do here in Colorado at the Biomass Energy Foundation. Recently, we have been able to run a regular spark-ignited auto engine (to power a generator) on gas fuel produced from the controlled burning of biomass, which is renewable and sustainable.
Demographics: The Population Hourglass
I'm not convinced that you have something here with your demographics essay ("Essay: Demographics," March). As an old guy, I've heard too many weather forecasts to grant any new one a very high degree of respect. The article was overall rather sour in tone—too much for my taste. Terminal rule by boomer narcissists, indeed.
Rindge, New Hampshire
No Quick Fix for Health Care
In your interview with Malcolm Gladwell ("Fast Talk", March), he rightly pointed out that companies should be more willing to be heard in our public-policy debates, and especially the health-care debate. However, Gladwell's suggestion that nationalized health care would be better is misguided. Countries with single-payer systems, like Canada and England, are privatizing those systems because the inefficient, nationalized bureaucracies necessarily lead to a higher overall tax burden. And that decreases the competitiveness of a nation's economy. Let the market, not the government, decide.
Michael Van Winkle
Six Jobs That Won't Exist
Regarding your prediction ("Six Jobs That Won't Exist In 2016," March) that ad creatives will be gone in 10 years: Maybe I'm in denial because I'm an ad copywriter, but I've seen the result of amateurs trying to write TV or radio ads—and especially jingles. Everyone thinks he can do it. I'll start practicing my skills waiting tables or whatever I'll need to work at Wal-Mart, but if you think you hate advertising now, wait until the amateurs get a hold of it.
I agree that the position of auto mechanic won't be the same as it was. Auto mechanics will need to be more technologically adept. But the position will not go away; it'll just become more complex. How far would the Enterprise have gone without Scotty?
Haltom City, Texas
Let's Hear It for the Kids
Thank you for quoting an intelligent high schooler in "Open Debate" (March). Shannon O'Brien was clear and insightful in sharing the importance of personal relationships, while I think John Seely Brown exemplified his title of "chief of confusion."
Not So Intelligent
Your celebration of Judge Jones's decision to keep intelligent design out of the classroom is outlandish and ridiculous ("Jurisprudent," March). Society works to foster an environment of support and acceptance for any idea, unless that idea smacks of faith. Intelligent-design theory is the least of our worries. Let's start with something concrete such as competent teachers and better pay.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
In our March Fast 50 article on the Predator drone ("Combat Drones"), we pictured the wrong aircraft. We also used an incorrect title for Thomas J. Cassidy Jr.; he is now the president of Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
In "The Mintz Dynasty" (April), we misidentified Dan Mintz's company. It is Dynamic Marketing Group.
"The Biotech Innovation Scorecard" (December 2005) should have described Idenix Pharmaceuticals' Telbivudine as a treatment for hepatitis B, not a vaccine.
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A version of this article appeared in the January 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.